Competing in national-level Freescale Cup a good learning experience for Curtin Sarawak students


The students with their advisors.

Miri – 24 June 2015 – Students of the Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE) Department, Faculty of Engineering and Science of Curtin University, Sarawak Malaysia (Curtin Sarawak) recently competed with students from other Malaysian universities in the national-level Freescale Cup.

The Freescale Cup is an annual international intelligent car competition for university students organised by Freescale Semiconductor. In order to enter the global competition, Malaysian teams must first compete at national level.


Smart cars lined up for evaluation.

In the competition, teams build and programme ‘smart’ racing cars equipped with Freescale microcontrollers, motors, cameras and lights and set them on a given track. The cars have to traverse the track, which can be quite complex with sharp turns, overlapping paths and steep hills, in the shortest time possible.

This year’s Malaysian competition was held at Universiti Institut Teknologi Mara (UiTM) Shah Alam and saw the participation of 65 teams. The event marked the seventh year Freescale Semiconductor Malaysia Sdn Bhd has organised the competition.

Curtin Sarawak sent nine students in three teams (Genesis, Boffin Bobo and X-celerate), who were accompanied by co-advisors Clement Tham Nyet Tet and Siaw Teck Ung, both postgraduate students of the ECE Department.

Siaw said it was a real pleasure watching the students grow from knowing nothing about smart car algorithm programming to qualifying for the national-level competition.

Chief advisor Dr. Garenth Lim also expressed his pride at seeing the students excel in the competition.

“Our students have considerable talent. As educators, we have to provide them ample opportunity to demonstrate their abilities and skills and not limit them to conventional classroom-style learning only,” he said.

According to Dr. Lim, Curtin Sarawak’s preparation for the Freescale Cup commenced at the end of last year with the recruitment of team members. They were required to attend training workshops on the use of the Freescale Freedom Development platform and other peripheral devices. They also learned programming language on embedded systems, a technique for communicating with the machine hardware.

Seven teams in the competition, including two of the Curtin Sarawak teams, managed to complete the track.

Third-year ECE student and leader of the Genesis team, Victor Hii, said that being a gaming enthusiast, he thoroughly enjoyed competing in the Freescale Cup and was overjoyed that his team’s car managed to complete the track.

Boffin Bobo team leader Chia Kah Hieng, whose team also successfully completed the track, remarked that the competition gave him the opportunity to apply theories learned in the classroom and experiment with electronic components.

Third-year electrical power engineering student Jiunn Cai of X-celerate, meanwhile, stressed that though his team did not complete the track, they acquired considerable technical knowledge and gained valuable leadership and teamwork skills through the competition.


The competition track.

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